A Brief History about Janmashtami
As per Hindu mythology in India, Janmashtami is to celebrate birthday of Lord Krishna. He was born to Vasudeva and Devki, when they were captivated in the jail of his uncle Kansa. As the legend goes, Lord Krishna took birth to kill Kansa. This is the reason Kansa kept them in jail so as to kill the child. On the very night of his birth, Vasudeva took the baby, sneaked out of jail, crossed the mighty Yamuna and left his son in the house of their relatives Nanda and Yashoda; who took the responsibility of raising the child.
How Janmashtami is celebrated
Janmashtami is the most pious day celebrated all over India. Different states have their different ways of celebrating it. Because of the variations in calculation of birth timings in various regions of India, it is usually taken as 2 day ritual. On this day, special Poojas (worship to God) and rituals are performed in all the temples of Krishna and houses throughout India. Poojas start in the midnight on the particular birth time of Lord Krishna. Even keeping fast on this day is a very common trend followed by Indians. Excerpts of the life of Lord Krishna are enacted by kids in the temple. This is the holiest festival of all festivals and celebrated with full zeal and enthrall.
You can spot professionals entertaining the crowd with beautiful Jhankis, Raslila and other dance performances nearby religious places. They make the occasion more interesting and intriguing. In different parts of India, it is celebrated differently. In Uttar Pradesh, it is known as Ashtmi. In Gujarat, a special temple is dedicated namely Dwarkadish temple. For the entire night no one sleeps and remain busy in Jagrans (where people gather in small groups and enchant religious songs and scripts). Bhagvad Gita is read which gives us Learnings of life.
The next day is called Nanda Utsav. On that day home cooked delicious sweets and cookies are shared and distributed along with love and affection.
The famous rally of competitions
‘Dahi Handi’ competition is a common trend observed throughout India, and majorly in Maharashtra. In this competition an earthen pot (Handi) filled with curd (Dahi) is hung 20-30 feet high. Lots of crowd gathers at the venue supporting their respective team. The task is to make a human hill and reach to the hanging pot, the first one to break it takes away the grand prize. Girls and Boys of young age take part in this competition actively. Its purpose is the enactment of how Krishna used to steal butter (maakhan) from the Handi.